There is a distorting, as well as legitimate tradition

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Transcript There is a distorting, as well as legitimate tradition

Queer Saints, Sinners and
Martyrs in Church History
The Church’s “Constant and Unchanging
Not everything that exists in
the Church must for that reason
be also a legitimate tradition;
in other words, not every
tradition that arises in the
Church is a true celebration
and keeping present of the
mystery of Christ. There is a
distorting, as well as
legitimate tradition …
consequently tradition must be
considered not only
affirmatively, but also critically.
-Fr Joseph Ratzinger
Changing Traditions:
Marriage and Scripture
The destruction of Sodom
Sergius and Bacchus
Sergius and Bacchus:
Patron Saints of Gay Marriage?
Early Church and Heterosexual Marriage
NOT designed for procreation
Valued LESS highly than celibacy. Even in
marriage, virginity was more highly valued.
Sexual intercourse was a necessary evil – only
permitted on 110 days a year
In the dark, fully clothed, and not for pleasure!
Changes in Biblical Interpretation
What WAS “the sin of the Sodomites”?
“‘Now this was the sin of your
sister Sodom: She and her
daughters were arrogant, overfed
and unconcerned; they did not help
the poor and needy. 50 They were
haughty and did detestable things
before me. Therefore I did away
with them as you have seen.
Ezekiel 16:49-50 (NIV)
Queer Saints in the Early Church
Martyrs for the Church:
 Sergius
and Bacchus
 Polyeuct
and Nearchos
 Justinus
and Maximus?
 Felicity
and Perpetua?
 Galla
and Benedicta
 Paulinus
of Nola
A “Medieval Flowering?”
Saintly exponents of male love, in verse and prose
 Venantius
Fortunatus, Aelred of Rievaulx, Anselm of
Canterbury, Alcuin of Tours
Female mystics
 Julian
of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen
Not saints
 Marbod
 John
of Rienes
of Orleans: First openly gay bishop (1098)?
 Possibly
“gay” popes: Benedict IX and John XII
John of Orleans: First openly gay bishop
Known to be lover of Archbishop
Ralph of Tours, who suggested him
Previously known to have been the
lover of the French King, and
other French nobles
Opposition to his ordination – but
NOT because of his sexuality, or
even promiscuity
Opposition overruled
A Renaissance Paradox:
Active Persecution Begins
Gay Popes (Paul II)
Burning the Sodomites
Suppression of Knights Templar (1307)
Martyrdom of Joan of Arc
Active hunting down pf Sodomites
Begun by Church, taken over by secular authorities
Anti-sodomy legislation persisted, even in West, to late
20th century.
Culminated in Nazi pink holocaust
The Lesson of Saint Joan
• Accused of “heresy”
– for gender
• Tried, convicted by
• Later vindicated,
• Theologians can be
Gay Popes, Papal Sodomites
Popes who are known to have had had sex with
Popes who were alleged by enemies to have had
sex with men
Popes who protected colleagues who had sex with
Papal Patrons of homoerotic art
Sistine Chapel Ceiling, Creation of Adam
Commissioned by Pope Julius II
For the Tomb of Pope Julius II
Sistine Chapel Altar Wall (detail)
Commissioned by Pope Clement VII
Queer Saints for Our Time
Vida Scudder
Tom Dooley
Dag Hammarskjöld
Rev Pauli Murray
Fr Mychal Judge
Queer Martyrs for Our Time
Physical Execution
 Nazi
Pink Holocaust
 Hate
crime murders
Career Execution
 Fr
John McNeill, SJ, Sr
Jeannine Gramick
 Rev
Janie Spahr, Rev
Chris Glaser
John McNeill, and husband Charles
 Rev
Jimmy Creech
 Rev
Troy Perry
The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian
The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian
The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian
The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian
The Triumph of the Martyrs:
A Modern Resurrection
• Since 1956, new interpretations of scripture
• LGBT affirmative Christian denominations, support
• Welcoming and Affirming denominatons,
• Acceptance of LGBT clergy
• Gay and lesbian bishops, moderator (UCC, Canada)
• Religious advocates FOR gay marriage, adoption
For LGBT Christians, respect the call to sanctity,
and “martyrdom” – i.e. witness
For others, see beyond the false binary of
Christian / equality opposition.